Georgia solar gets another boost: Company plans 500-plus new jobs

An aerial photo shows downtown Americus in August of 2020. NanoPV, a solar technologies company, plans to add more than 500 jobs as part of a new manufacturing and distribution operation in the community in Sumter County. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

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An aerial photo shows downtown Americus in August of 2020. NanoPV, a solar technologies company, plans to add more than 500 jobs as part of a new manufacturing and distribution operation in the community in Sumter County. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

The state’s solar industry is slated to get another boost, this time with a new manufacturing and distribution operation expected to bring 500-plus jobs to southwest Georgia.

On Thursday, state officials announced that NanoPV, a company based in Princeton, N.J., will spend more than $36 million on an existing facility in Americus. The company said it plans to turn it into its largest solar manufacturing outfit. NanoPV makes solar panels and provides other equipment and services.

In a state press release, Gov. Brian Kemp said the project will offer good-paying jobs and “help lead to generational growth across the entire region.”

Rusty Warner, the executive director of the Americus-Sumter Payroll Development Authority, suggested in the press release that other ancillary solar companies will want to be near the new operation.

NanoPV chief executive officer Anna Selvan John said hiring should take place next year for production workers, with median annual pay of about $37,000. John said government incentives for the project include standard tax breaks for creating new jobs, state-supported training for workers, a tax break on stored raw materials and a local offer of lease-free production and distribution space for a time, assuming promised job creation happens.

John said NanoPV’s Georgia workforce could eventually double or triple, depending on how much the market grows for domestically produced solar cells and panels. Currently, the vast majority of solar cells installed in the United States are made in Asia.

Solar farms and installations are booming in Georgia, with almost 700 megawatts of capacity added last year alone and plans for almost double that, according to the state. In recent years, hundreds of new jobs were promised by Hanwha Q Cells at a solar panel assembly plant in Dalton in North Georgia.